The Bloom Book Club’s first selection for 2010 is “Same Kind of Different As Me.” This is the first book club – albeit it’s online – that I’ve ever joined. I was encouraged that the last book they read was “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan (which by the way will “wreck you” …in a good way) so I decided to give this book a try.
As the back of the book puts it, Same Kind of Different As Me is the true story of:
A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscal
e art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.
[Okay…I thought that last line in the back cover description was a bit overstated, but nonetheless, you get the idea that this is an incredible true story of how faith, hope and love can bring together two men who had nothing in common upon first glance.]
I rarely cry (maybe three or four times a year) and I found myself crying at one point in this book. So, I’m going to say with confidence that this is a good book because it got me to actually shed some tears!
My biggest takeaway of the book was a friendship analogy that Denver, the homeless drifter, cited when Ron, the upscale art dealer, said that he wanted to be Denver’s friend. He begins the analogy by describing the difference between how a black man fishes and how a white man fishes.
“When colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that’ll look. Then we eat what we catch…in other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water.”
He then responded to Ron’s (the white guy) invitation to be his friend: “So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend.”
Wow! What a statement! It really got me thinking that you can do good things for the poor, but if you really want to see the world through Jesus’ eyes you need to invest and be in relationships with the poor. Otherwise, you’re just catch’n and release’n people.
There’s a really great C.S. Lewis quote at the end of the book that I wanted to share about the clash between grief and faith. To me, this quote is a an encouraging answer to the age-old question of “why does God let bad things happen to good people?” Take a read (or read it two or three times like I did to make sure it fully sank in.)
“The tortures occur,” he wrote. “If they are unnecessary, then there is no God, or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary for no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.”- C.S. Lewis
Worth reading? Yes
Worth buying my own copy? Yes, because you’ll want to lend it to someone (as I will do tomorrow!)
Recommend to friends? Yes, especially those interested in social justice issues and community outreach ministry
Stars: 5 out of 5